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Carrot, kale, carry-on

I may be the first person in history to say such a thing, but I sort of miss airplane food. I don’t mean those roast beef sandwiches in foil packets, the spongy ones that look like they’ve been sat upon, or the pizza pockets warmed in plastic baggies. I mean real food. I’m talking about the stuff of twenty years ago, back when airfare bought not only a seat but also a tray of somewhat edible food. Back then, eating on the plane was kind of fun. You could file all sorts of requests for elaborate special meals, and some of them were actually pretty good. My parents were fond of the “Cold Seafood” option, which usually came with shrimp cocktail, a salad, and a piece of decently poached fish. It wasn’t anything to smack your lips about, but it was perfectly serviceable. Heck, you wouldn’t go hungry, at least, which is more than I can say about air travel now. R.I.P., Cold Seafood. Today, it’s all pretzels and Sesame Snaks and greasy cheese crackers.

I think about this sort of thing more than you might expect, because in order to see my family, I have to board a plane. My mother is in Oklahoma, and my siblings live in D.C., Boston, and New York. I have aunts, uncles, and cousins in California, Maine, and Canada. This is troublesome, as you might guess. Not only does it add up quite unpleasantly, but long flights can make a person pretty hungry. On the average day, I feel nibbly about every four hours. My internal clock is wound tight, and travel does nothing to change it. Come mealtime, it jitters and chirps like those old-fashioned nightstand alarms, the round ones you see in cartoons. Some women hear the tick of a biological clock, but I hear my inner dinner bell. It’s very noisy and persistent and annoying, especially at 30,000 feet, and it can only be quieted with a carry-on bag of food.

I can’t even remember the last time I flew without a food bag. I’m getting pretty good at packing them. Breakfast is easy: a scone or muffin, or leftover pancakes in a baggie. For lunch or dinner, a sandwich works, or a big hunk of bread and some cheese. Ratatouille is good, and so is lentil salad. For a while, I was into boiled eggs, but they can smell pretty bad, so I put a stop to that. Then, a few days ago, I stumbled upon a new favorite airplane food. It tastes good; it smells good; and unlike the jar of peanut butter with my name on it that now sits at the bottom of a landfill somewhere – wah! – it won’t be confiscated at the security checkpoint.

Last Friday morning, Brandon and I boarded a plane to Oklahoma for a long weekend with my mom, and with us came two Tupperwares: one containing a carrot salad, and the other a frittata streaked with ribbons of kale.

I’ve written about a frittata here once before. (Back in what seems now like another lifetime.) It’s a testament to the goodness of the genre, I think, that it’s making a repeat appearance today. To me, a frittata is the ultimate “kitchen sink” meal: it will accept nearly any bit or bob or half-forgotten thing from the crisper drawer and, a few eggshells later, render it eminently edible. That makes it a perfect way to clean out the fridge before a trip, or to use that leftover something you weren’t so excited about to start with.

In our case, we had a handful of kale in the crisper and a lonely red onion in the basket, and let me tell you, what a frittata they make. Happy bedfellows, those two: with a little oil and heat, the onion goes sweetly brown, and the kale curls around it like a savory green knot. Beaten with a fork into a bowl of eggs and sharp cheddar and cooked gently in a heavy skillet, the mess comes together into a rich, satisfying omelet of sorts – only flat, minus that fussy folding part. Not only is it a wildly easy meal for two, but it tastes delicious at room temperature – a rare feat, you know, for an egg-based dish. To go along with, we chucked together a carrot salad that I first ate in France, a simple, slivered job with lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. It would have been a shame to let a bag of good carrots go unused, and anyway, something crunchy always helps to clear the pressure in the ears, mid-flight.

All told, the duo was tasty enough that we made it again yesterday for our return trip, giving the julienne blade of my mother’s food processor a much-needed workout in the process. It’s nobody’s Cold Seafood, but that’s okay by me.

Kale and Cheddar Frittata

Frittatas are a cinch to make, except for the business of the skillet. First, you need one that’s oven- and broiler-safe. That means no wooden or plastic handles, unless the latter is formulated to be heat-resistant. [My cousin Katie has also been known to sneak her wooden-handled pan under the broiler, but she watches it carefully and keeps the oven door open.] Secondly, you need a skillet that won’t cause the frittata to stick like crazy. In theory, a nonstick skillet would be best, but I’m wary of putting Teflon under the broiler. It just sounds like a bad idea. My preference is for anodized aluminum, such as the Calphalon One line, which works wonderfully. You could also use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. That’s what I used in Oklahoma, and though the frittata did stick a touch, it was easy to rectify with a slip or two of the spatula.

Keep in mind, also, that the recipe below can be used as a template for any number of frittatas. It makes a fairly thin one – about a half inch deep – so if you like yours thicker, try adding a couple more eggs. As for flavorings, you can throw in nearly any cooked meat or vegetable. We made a great one recently with gruyere and two medium leeks that I sliced and cooked slowly in a tablespoon of butter with a pinch of sugar and salt.

3 ½ Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 small red onion
4-5 oz. lacinato (also known as dinosaur) kale
5 large eggs
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, such as Black Diamond
¼ tsp. salt, plus more to taste

Preheat the broiler of your oven.

In a 10-inch heavy skillet – (see note above) – warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent but not browned. Add the kale, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and a pinch of salt, and stir until just wilted. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The kale should be very tender, and the onions should have taken on a rosy brown color. Set aside.

Break the eggs into a medium bowl, and beat them well with a fork. Add the cheese and salt, and beat again to blend. Add the kale and onion mixture, and beat to mix well.

Wipe any burnt bits from the skillet, and add the remaining ½ tablespoon oil. Place the pan over low heat. When it is warm, pour in the egg mixture. If necessary, use the fork to gently push the kale around a bit, so it is evenly distributed. Cook over low heat until the bottom of the frittata is lightly browned – tease the edge up with a heatproof spatula and peek underneath – and the top looks mostly set.

Remove the pan from the heat and slide it under the broiler until the top is nicely browned, 30-60 seconds. Don’t walk away from it while it’s under the broiler; it cooks very quickly.

Cut into wedges, and serve warm or at room temperature, with additional salt, if needed.

Yield: 2 servings as a main dish, or more as a side

Note: Refrigerated in an airtight container, a frittata will keep nicely for up to 48 hours, although it is most tender within the first day.


French-Style Carrot Salad

You can find this salad all over France: in bistros, in homes, even in the packaged-foods section of the corner grocery store. It’s a classic lunchtime starter, as cheap and simple as they come. It’s all about the carrots, so be sure to choose good, sweet ones. Try them before you use them, and if they don’t taste good, well, this may not be the day for your carrot salad. You’d be smart to wait for better ones.

1 lb. carrots
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/8 tsp. pressed or crushed garlic

Rinse and dry the carrots, and trim away their ends. Cut them into short segments, and using a mandoline or food processor fitted with the julienne blade, cut them into matchsticks. [If you don’t have a mandoline or food processor with the proper blades, you can also grate the carrots on the large-holed side of a box grater, but they won’t be quite as crisp or as pretty.]

Put the julienned carrots in a medium bowl, and toss them well with the lemon juice. Add the oil, salt, and garlic, and toss again to mix well. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve.

Yield: 2-4 servings

Note: This salad is a great traveler. It stays crunchy for a good 24 hours – meaning that you can make it the night before an early-morning flight – and it tastes just fine at room temperature.


Anonymous ann said...

When we flew to Croatia on Austria Air, they served the BEST food, in coach! I got 3 kinds of pasta; gnocchi, ravioli and linguini, each in their own sauce with a real salad, with, now, get this, REAL metal silverware.
And come to think of it, Croatia Air was pretty nice too, serving unlimited Croat beer & wine, gingersnap cookies and delicious bread.
While your salad & fritatta is ultimately better than airline food, I agree, Molly, I miss the glamour of flying.

8:00 AM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous rebekka said...

We just flew back from the Bahamas on Southwest and got baggies of little airplane crackers. At least they kept us entertained for a while, we put on minature air shows and concocted elaborate crashes.

8:49 AM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Melindy said...

Airplane food is crappy. Unlike Ann, I have not yet experienced my gem of a plane-trip meal. Airplanes in general are particularly crappy, when one is allergic to peanuts as I am. When I flew back and forth to Italy last summer- I told the flight attendants of my allergy, and they refused to serve the 10 people in any direction of me peanuts. Grateful as I was, I was wary of being singled out. Well, I guess in a sense it made me popular.

Oh and carrots Molly! They are delicious grated or slivered, about that you are right.

I recently used some leftover carrots to grate and stuff in some buckwheat crepes I made with provolone cheese...

9:01 AM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger shari said...

hi molly.
i love the idea of whipping up something quick and delicious to take on your travels. i think i remember being served fancy airplane food ( a whole meal!) when i was four and i was headed to oklahoma to see my uncle. :) your simple carrot salad sounds fantastic. carrots don't need much dressing up. i make a similar salad that i top with sesame seeds. xoxo shari

9:35 AM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Julie said...

In some way, I think that Calvin Trillin speeded the demise of the airline meal when he described, long before it was fashionable (or necessary), the comprehensive foodstuffs that he would carry on to sustain him through a flight. I do get a kick out of planning something particularly delicious and sustaining for a long flight.

I remember getting bumped up to first class on an overbooked flight when I was a child, and being served a cooked-to-order steak on porcelain dinnerware. My parents had wine out of glasses, and rich desserts were accompanied by a big bowl of gorgeous fresh fruit. Sigh.

In any case, thanks to your constant inspiration, there's a frittata in my future. I have some leftover sauteed broccoli/broccoli rabe mix with garlic and red pepper, a couple of leeks and some cave-aged gruyere in the fridge, as well as the requisite eggs. I hear them calling me.

10:33 AM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger stitchkommander said...

Off topic:
I just stumbled accross your blog via port2port and I am hooked! Your writing and recipes are fantastic. Cheers!

10:39 AM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Anali said...

Love the inner dinner bell! I'm both a fan of the frittata and carrot salad. I usually make frittatas for brunch, but would have never thought of it for travel. Thanks for the idea!

10:46 AM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Brian Gardunia said...

When you return, if you are in Tacoma area, you should go to East West cafe. They have two restaurants, but the old one by the mall, is the best. Swimming angel - a dish made with spinach floating in a peanut sauce, and any curry is good. Just to get the airplane "snack" out of your system. Have you tried making spring rolls? Surprisingly easy and great.

I have the same problem as my family is in Idaho, my wife's in Tacoma, my sister in Florida, and me in Indiana.

11:21 AM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Shana said...

Those look like fabulous ideas!
I'm a big fan of soba noodles for long flights -- I usually make up a batch of soba with a little fried tofu and some wasabe peas, and throw in lots of ginger and red pepper flakes; after about four hours, it's stimulating enough to make me feel better. and the longer it sits, the more flavor the noodles soak up.

David Cheng's recipe for ginger scallion noodles is pretty fabulous.

11:25 AM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Lia said...

Jet Blue's the only airline whose "food" I get excited about these days. They have these animal crackers that I can't get enough of, and surprisingly they don't have all the hydrogenated nonsense that so many other packaged foods do. I usually make my way through a few bags of them wherever I'm flying, but beside that, I'm all about bringing my own food too! The last time I flew, I brought along some banh mi. Yum, but stinky.

2:56 PM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Pam said...

I'm so old that I can actually remember when the stewardess (yes, they were always women back then) asked you how you wanted your filet mignon cooked - and that was in economy class! The good old days, indeed! :-) Flying is no longer glam - it's a cattle drive. Your recipes, however, take the moo out of air travel. I'll try them next time I'm forced to join the herd!

4:55 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger BipolarLawyerCook said...

Molly, thanks for the kale recipe. I get it every other week in my organic produce delivery this time of year, and can only think to put it in soup. Not that soup isn't good, but...

I did learn one trick that's particularly good for curly kale and collards-- the lacinato/black/Tuscan kale doesn't need it as much.

Tear up your greens, unwashed, and stem them. Thrown them in a plastic bag and stick them in the freezer for 30 minutes. The n remove, rinse, and add to your recipe. The freezing breaks down the cell walls so that the greens become very tender very quickly.

I don't know where I picked up this trick other than to say it was online, but it's turned my 3 hour caldo verde recipe into a 1 hour recipe.

5:23 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Private Chef said...

I think it is only a matter of time before the big chefs come into planes. I work for billioniares and celebrities as their chef and spend a lot of time on private jets. the food served on these planes is as good as any resturant and there is no reason why it can't and won't be the same on commerical in the future. With the arrival of the bigger super jumbos it is only a matter of time before airliners start attracting customers with gourmet treats.

7:27 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Vincci said...

When I was younger I couldn't stand airplanes, even though we made a trip across the ocean about once every two years to go back to visit family in Hong Kong. Since then I've realized it was a matter of psychology and NOT EATING. The food on Canadian airlines was repulsive; it had this distinctive smell to it that I just couldn't bear. Now that I've adjusted to planes and plane food (just in time for school!) I've had a couple good meals here and there, mainly when I've flown internationally, although the introduction of brand name foods for the "buy on board" things some planes have is a bit comforting. Japan Airlines is good, Air Canada serves buns that feel like they just pulled them from the fridge (but it's ok cuz they serve ice cream!)... I could go on and on about plane food!

7:44 PM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous hester said...

Yum... I love frittatas - they are perfect weekday meal food! I always loved the idea of making your own airplane food - there has to be a way of bringing back a bit of luxury to modern air travel!

3:23 AM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger Victoria said...

What you get on airplanes these days is not food, it's a product, so BYO is the only way to go. Great suggestions. I'm definitely making the carrot salad this week. Never thought of matchsticks instead of grated carrots. Good idea. Thanks.

4:01 AM, March 07, 2007  
Anonymous kayenne said...

i've seen a couple of shows, one is giada de laurentis and another on rachel ray making some type of fritata, or torta, as we call it here. and i did always wonder why it is necessary to put it under the broiler or oven. won't flipping the omelet make it easier and faster? i've always just flipped mine, coz all our pans/skillets have plastic handles. potatoes and corned beef are great!

what little flying experience i have, i've always loved airplane food. they're not the best... but for some reason, i like them. entrees on aluminum pans and other stuff - salad, dessert, bread, nuts, snacks on little plastic containers or packets. i find it weirdly charming. the last time was on china southern, i think, on a trip to shanghai.

5:13 AM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger wheresmymind said...

Seriously...can you beat ANYTHING with cheese?

6:32 AM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger tara said...

I used to adore airplance food; I don't know if it is my obsession with order, but the little compartmentalized sections for each item intrigued my seven-year-old self. I would especially enjoy our trips on airlines in other countries; going from the beef or chicken option of Air Canada to the muttar paneer of Air India.

With you and Brandon and all your travel, I heartily reccomend Indian-style tiffin boxes (available in stainless and in tupperware) for mile-high picnics.

9:03 AM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger christianne said...

I'll never forget a first class Singapore airlines flight I took from the US to Tokyo - they served caviar! It was a long, long time ago ... back when passengers could smoke on the plane.

9:32 AM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger Scorpio said...

It is alleged that Midwest Airlines still serves Real Food, and with Real Utensils (minus knives since 2001).

Last airline meal I got was 3 years ago on Northwest. Cereal, milk, bagel, cream cheese ... better than pretzels for breakfast, anyway.

4:24 PM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger Magpie Ima said...

I never fly anywhere, so I can't speak to airline food specifically, but I do hate the idea of being stuck with no good food options in sight. I'm no t ahuge egg lover but I ma slowly coming to appreciate the frittata and I'm always up for a new carrot dish so thanks for sharing!

5:13 PM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Ann, what is it about other countries' airlines? They do flying so much better than we do. I want gnocchi and gingersnaps and glamour!

Rebekka, you're a better sport about those dinky little snacks than I am! Next time I'm on Southwest, though, I'll think of you and try to rally for a miniature air show of my own.

Oh Melindy! A peanut allergy + airplanes = a very scary combination! I can only imagine. Talk about bad airplane food!

Hi Shari! Tell me more about this carrot salad of yours, my friend. What do you dress it with? And do you still have an uncle in Oklahoma? Small world this is...

Julie, I love the story of your first-class trip as a child! Cooked-to-order steak? Fresh fruit? Rich dessert? Compared to today's airplane fare, it sounds as though your trip took place in a parallel universe. So sad. Oh, and about the contents of your fridge: as always, you're a woman after my own heart.

Thank you, stitchkommander, and welcome! I owe mav a big one for sending you over...

My pleasure, Anali! Frittatas really do travel well.

Thanks for the East West Cafe suggestion, Brian. I will definitely remember it for the next time we're in the Tacoma / SeaTac area! I wish I could say that we stopped there after our flight home on Monday night, but I had terrible motion sickness from our bumpy landing - yuck, yuck. We hurried back up to Seattle and into bed.

I love the soba noodle idea, Shana. We've taken batches of soba with a spicy peanut sauce on a few road trips, and I'll bet they'd be terrific on a flight too - just spicy and wholesome enough to make the plane feel a little less stale and airless. And thanks for the link to David Chang's recipe - it sounds terrific.

Lia, I thought of Jet Blue when I was writing this! Of all the various little snacky foods you get on planes, theirs are by far the best. When Brandon was still in NYC, I used to fly Jet Blue quite a bit to visit him. Are they still serving roasted cashews? Mmmm.

Pam, I hear you: it is a cattle drive. Oh, for the days of filet mignon!

Bipolarlawyercook, that's a great suggestion. Thank you, thank you. I will definitely give it a go.

Private Chef, I certainly hope you're right! To get good food on airplanes again - oh, that will be the day...

Vincci, I've never flown on a Canadian airline, and now I'm not sure I want to! Although I can't imagine that it's much worse than our American ones - where yicky food is concerned, they'd be hard to beat.

I hear you, Hester! Seriously, with how much we pay to fly these days, there has to be a way to make it feel at least a little luxurious...

That's a good way of putting it, Victoria. You're right - it's a product, not food. You should have seen the little shrink-wrapped "pizzas" they served on our flight on Monday. (Shudder.)

Kayenne, I know what you mean. If you don't have an oven-safe skillet, flipping is a great option. I used to flip my frittatas, but now I prefer using the broiler. For one, if your frittata is at all on the large side, it can be hard to flip. If I was making one in a 12-inch skillet, for example, flipping it required some complicated orchestration! Also, I think cooking a frittata entirely on the stovetop can make it a little rubbery, if you're not careful. Cooking it under the broiler makes the eggs puff a bit, and it's very quick, so there's little chance of overcooking. To me, it tastes a little more delicate that way.

Wheresmymind, I do believe that the answer is, quite emphatically, NO! Bring on the cheese.

Tara, I never would have thought of that! Those tiffin boxes would be perfect. You're a genius. Brandon and I thank you. (And how are you, by the way?)

CAVIAR, Christianne? Ohhhhhh! I'm swooning a little.

Scorpio, sign me up for a flight on Midwest Airlines. It sounds too good to be true!

Magpie Ima, I hear you: I feel a little panicky when I don't know where my next (good) meal is coming from. Amen for frittatas and carrot salads!

5:21 PM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger Misty said...

These are great recipes! thanks! My husband flies weekly, on average. occasionally he is fortunate enough to get first class which lands him the real meal, on glass plates, with real silverware and everything...
which is randomly ironic considering most terrorists book themselves on first class, and the "reason" airlines stopped serving food to coach at all was the "danger" of the utensils and packaging.
Anyway, it is during those coach flights while flying from one coast to the other that I feel especially bad for him. This was a GREAT post for that! thank you, thank you, thank you. (and if he weren't snoring in the other room, right now, I am imagining he would send his gratitude as well!)
or so they say...

9:38 PM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger tara said...

Molly, so glad to help you and Brandon! Here is a link to my favorite style of tiffin, and see below for the plastic thermal version: http://www.citychef.ca/xcart/customer/product.php?productid=18192.

7:20 AM, March 08, 2007  
Blogger Max said...

Molly, you have perfect timing! I just returned from a long weekend in Mexico and as I sat on the plane staring at what was supposedly a sandwich, a similar monologue ran though my head. I didn't blog about it, but instead reminisced about the fantastic guacamole. You can read it here: http://chewonthat.blogspot.com/2007/03/suns-so-hot-i-forgot-to-go-home.html

I must say, I flew to London on Virgin Atlantic and it was certainly that "old fashioned" experience we all long for. Mushroom risotto, red wine and in-flight movies!

8:37 AM, March 08, 2007  
Blogger amisha said...

hi molly, thanks for this delicious airplane idea! and something new to do with kale, which i have been getting tons of from my veggie basket each week... yum. i too miss the old days of good airplane food. air india was the *best*... veg and non-veg... very elaborate preparations that were always delicious! alas, nowadays even they give you an old samosa and expect you to make do. sigh.

10:27 AM, March 08, 2007  
Blogger Tea said...

Mmmm, do you think that salad would be good road trip fodder? I have some carrots that need using before I take off for points northward...

See you soon! (I mean it this time)

12:56 PM, March 08, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

James Peterson's Glorious French Food has a nice variation on your carrot salad - add toasted pine nuts and golden raisins.

7:18 AM, March 09, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

reading your blog brings back life growing up. Mom was french and always made the carrot salad and Dad is italian and the frittata was a staple. Back then I did not appreciate the food my parents whipped up as I wanted to be so American and have peanut butter & jelly sandwiches like the rest of the class. Imagine going to school in the 70's and the kids looking at my room temp frittata & carrot salad in the lunch box. I was tormented. Nowadays I would have been uber cool with the gourmet lunch. Great to see you enjoying such great simple meals that I still whip up to this day.

9:08 AM, March 09, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

You're very welcome, Misty! I see some good airplane food in your husband's future...

Tara, you're the best. Thank you! xo

Oh Max, I just hopped over and read your post, and I am SO jealous. Five days of guacamole and chips for lunch? Sounds like a dream...

You're welcome, Amisha! And oh, how sad that Air India, too, has given up on good airplane food. I can only imagine how wonderful it must have been to get spicy, saucy, aromatic Indian food at 30,000 feet. Sigh.

Tea, this salad would be perfect for your road trip. Now hurry up, cherie!

Anonymous, I love the thought of that variation. Toasted pine nuts make everything better.

Anonymous, the food of your childhood sounds like heaven - although I can well imagine how horrifying it must have been back then to find such things in your lunchbox, with your peers looking on, wondering where the peanut butter or bag of chips was. Being a kid was so hard - I'm glad it's over. But say, if I may ask, how did your mother dress her carrot salad? My host mother in Paris used to make carrot salad, but I foolishly didn't pay attention to how she dressed it, and though I love the version Brandon and I whipped up, it's not quite like hers...

10:24 AM, March 09, 2007  
Anonymous Elise said...

Molly - love your blog! I am obsessed with frittatas, too. It is so easy, as you say. It's now standard breakfast and dinner for hubby and me. I have an infrared broiler that the frittata adores - it puffs up and browns so nicely (2 min max). My standard ingredients are feta, **Mama Lil's peppers**, onion, thinly slice Yukon Golds (if I have the time), and parm/romano on the top (just before broiler time). I haven't felt need for non-stick. Maybe because I [heart] olive oil. Looking forward to the book!

6:59 PM, March 09, 2007  
Blogger SF Money Musings said...

Your recipes came in handy at the perfect moment!

I leave for Austin Sunday and have a 4 hour layover in Denver! I don't know how I'm going to keep myself occupied but the salad sounds like the perfect idea. I have several carrots in my fridge waiting to be used!

I just love love your recipes and your posts.

11:31 PM, March 09, 2007  
Blogger Cookie baker Lynn said...

What a timely post! My husband is flying on business next week and you've given me some great ideas on how to help him survive the ordeal.

Some of the comments reminded me of when I flew trans-atlantic as a child. China and real silverware for the steak. I know my husband won't be getting that treatment!

8:22 AM, March 10, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Elise, your standard frittata sounds like heaven. I am a huge fan of Mama Lil's peppers - as is Brandon, Mr. Anything Spicy Man - but I'd never thought to put them in a frittata. Hot damn! Next time, for sure.

Thank you, SF Money Musings! And happy flying to you. May that four-hour layover zip by...

Cookie baker Lynn, I'm happy to help. Safe (and tasty) travels to your husband!

12:14 PM, March 11, 2007  
Blogger Eric said...

Molly, I've been enjoying your blog for two reasons, one objective, and one entirely subjective: because you're an excellent food writer, and because I have a very young daughter named Molly.

That being said, I would like to offer a friendly disagreement with you about using the broiler for a fritatta. I don't doubt that you're right about the broiler being the more foolproof method for many fritattas. You have done that a zillion times more than I have, so I bow to your experience.

However, for pasta-filled frittatas, I am quite certain that the combination of a 12-inch nonstick pan and a simple flip is not only acceptable, but preferable. You don't have to heat the broiler, and you can still get the frittata nicely browned on both sides.

You say that in this scenario, the flip can require "complicated orchestration," but if you're using spaghetti as the filling, and let the eggs cook until they're set, that need not be the case. Just loosen the bottom of the frittata from the pan with a flexible spatula, then slide it onto a 12-inch plate. Put the rim of the plate against the rim of the pan, and quickly flip in one swift motion.

This technique pleases some tough customers -- my children, ages 7, 6, 4, and 21 months (the last one is the Molly). In our house, we make frittatas for breakfast or dinner. They are served with shouts of joy, as frittatas are the kids' favorite food, standing above even pizza and hamburgers in their esteem. My older daughter (the 6-year-old) doesn't even like eggs, but she voraciously devours her first serving and demands more.

One bonus aspect about frittatas is that not only do kids enjoy them, they're simple enough that kids can help make them, too. Same deal with focaccia, but I'll leave that for another comment.

1:22 PM, March 11, 2007  
Blogger Tony said...

Hi Molly,

Goodness! So much comment about frittata! I'm going to have to agree with you about the "broiler" (or grill as we call it here) and disagree with Eric...

Here is my partner's recipe variant recalled from a trip to Madrid:

Chop some potatoes and gently sautee in olive oil until slightly browned and do the same with some chopped onion and garlic. Add some diced red capsicum. Season with pepper. Set aside. Whisk eggs and add a very large pinch of saffron ground and salt to taste. Mix it all together and cook on the stove until the base is solidish. Then place under the broiler to finish it off. Spinkle with parsley, have a glass of manzanillla and dream of Spain....

After you finish the book, perhaps you should diversify into airline cooking: you would have a captive audience from orangette!


10:46 PM, March 11, 2007  
Blogger Diane said...

I am astonished and bemused. How on earth did you get this stuff past security? With the new "if it squishes, it's a gel" rule, it seems next to impossible to pack food for consuming on the plane. They have graciously (ahem) changed the rule to allow us to purchase food and drink past the security point, but that's just another option for entrapment pricing.

Are you just putting it in your bag, not declaring it, and hoping they miss it? When I checked the TSA rules to see if they had changed since Christmas, it seems they have not. Please say more if they have!

10:51 PM, March 11, 2007  
Blogger Julie said...

My husband and I have packed frittatas, bean salads, and always good chocolate. However, my favorite thing to bring is a grilled veggie sandwich with cheese and maybe a slice of prosciutto or salami. We roast up the veggies the night before, buys some good bread, and it actually makes me look forward to getting on the plane so I can eat it. You know the airplane food of days past wasn't just about something decent to sate you at mealtime, but about a kind of civility and generosity that is now lacking from the experience. People don't behave decently on flights the way they used to, and maybe the lack of decent meals is partly to blame. I travel constantly too due to family scattered across the country, so I can sympathize.

1:50 PM, March 12, 2007  
Anonymous Heather said...

"some women hear the tick of a biological clock, but I hear my inner dinner bell." - that is hilarious! ...and i must try that carrot salad..sound yummy!

6:07 AM, March 13, 2007  
Blogger Catherine said...

another great use for dino kale! excellent and the carrot salad sounds great too.

5:10 PM, March 13, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Eric, I don't know what's better: that you make frittatas for your kids, or that your kids like them better than hamburgers and pizza. Either way, I'm suitably impressed! (I also like that you have a Molly too; excellent choice of name, sir.) As for the flipping vs. broiling issue, the way you flip yours is the same way that I used to flip mine, and I suppose you're right. It's not that complicated - except for the fact that I burned myself a couple times in the process. And I also found that flipping made my frittatas a teensy bit rubbery, which doesn't seem to happen under the broiler. But different strokes, you know. So long as you (and your household of smart little eaters!) like it, that's all that matters.

Tony, I LOVE the thought of adding some saffron to a frittata. Brilliant. Thank you, thank you, as always.

Diane, you know, I pack this stuff right in my carry-on, and they give me no trouble at all. I've had to give up bringing yogurt, peanut butter (in a jar), and hummus, but they've never stopped me from bringing anything else, so long as it's remotely solid. Most recently, it was frittata and carrot salad, of course, but I've also brought scones, various cooked vegetables, chickpeas, potato chips, fruit, chocolate, soba noodles, cheese, and bread. No problem at all. They've even searched my bags, but they never say a peep about the food.

Julie, that's a very good point. The old days of airplane food weren't only about filling bellies, but also about a certain sense of civility and generosity (and luxury) too. That's not even part of the equation anymore. So sad.

Thank you, Heather!

I love dinosaur kale, Catherine. We've eaten tons of it this winter, and I'm always happy to think up a new something to do with it.

8:36 PM, March 13, 2007  
Blogger Honeybee said...

Oh, the good old days when there was still an airline called Swissair... they served phenomenal food and even on the shortest of flights you got fabulous sandwiches, not ice-cold served under a plastic wrap but presented on a silver tray, as many as you wanted, acompanied by a glass of champagne. *sigh*. I just took an Air France flight from Paris to Buenos Aires and I have to say they did well in the food compartment, congratulations!

5:23 AM, March 18, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Oh Honeybee! A silver tray? And champagne? Those were definitely the days...

9:34 AM, March 20, 2007  
Blogger Magpie Ima said...

Just wanted you to know that in the brief time since you posted this the carrot salad has become a favorite in my house. Thanks!

6:39 PM, March 23, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

I'm so happy to hear it, Magpie Ima!

9:53 PM, March 24, 2007  
Blogger Jayde said...

My girlfriend and I have been making something very similar to the fritata for a protein-laden breakfast after our morning workout. We're looking greatly forward to the U-Dist market to fire back up to start really playing with the ingredients.

http://cooklocal.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!8EA3FDF3A5125398!188.entry are our first two reviews of our efforts. We never thought about bringing them on a flight... Now I want to travel again.... =)

4:36 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Joe Horn said...

Hey Molly. Thanks for the inspiration . I just made frittata for breakfast a few days ago. Come by and check it out and let me know what you think. I know you are super busy, but would love for you to check out my stuff. Your da bomb!



5:35 PM, July 06, 2008  
Blogger Elspeth Pierson said...

happened upon your recipe as i was looking for a carrot dish that would keep the crunch and flavor of the carrots while offering an alternative to sticks and hummus...much better than carrot soup for a summer day! off to peruse my favorite french cookbook to see what they have to say about it...

thanks much,

elspeth @ www.diaryofalocavore.com

7:51 AM, July 24, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Austrian Airways does serve very good food & stunning desserts and some REAL bread! n general, the food in European Airlines tends to be better than American airlines - which is not saying much I know! ( Unless you land a bummer like Alitalia - dont know why anyone at all will fly this airline run by Thugs & thieves!)
But the portions are tiny - really tiny to sustain anyone on long distances!

9:44 AM, January 17, 2010  
Blogger J said...

I had a bunch of carrots in the 'fridge that were nearing expiry, and soup was not an option in this 28 degree weather! So, on a hunch, I went to your recipe index. My husband and I have eaten this 3 times in the last week, and love love LOVE it. Thanks so much, Molly!

6:20 AM, June 16, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

We made the carrots and fritatta for dinner and it was splendid. We love your recipes, esp your mom's berry cake and the ratatouille (with a fried egg on top).

3:55 PM, June 21, 2012  

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